Science should be an election issue – read our Op-Ed in Le Devoir

Read an Op-Ed signed by the Presidents of CAN, Katalin Toth, and of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences, Tarik Moroy, this morning in Le Devoir.  Scientific research is important for all Canadians – it is how Canada can face the issues and challenges we face today. Political leaders should commit to supporting science today.
Read our op-ed here (in French):

The Liberal Party answers CAN’s questions about science support

We have received a response from the Liberal Party of Canada to our five questions about science support.

  1. Is your Party committed to fully implementing the report of the Fundamental Science Review (Naylor report) with additional financial investment into open competitions to maintain Canada as a forefront leader in research innovation and research discoveries?

Our Liberal government believes in evidence-based policy and in science and in the Canadians behind the next big ideas. After a decade of setbacks and cuts to science under the Harper Conservatives, our government is rebuilding Canadian research and supporting our country’s greatest minds.  We unmuzzled our scientists, brought back the long-form census, and re-instated the position of the Chief Science Advisor. Continue reading

Green party responds to our questions for candidates in advance of the federal election

Last July, CAN sent five questions to the Liberal, Conservative, NPD and Green party in advance of the upcoming federal elections, which we have summarized below.  Read our full questions, with context, here. 

The Green Party of Canada responded first. The questions were submitted to Mrs. Amita Kuttner, Shadow Minister of Science and Innovation for the Green Party of Canada – her response is copied here: Continue reading

Invitation to join the #VoteScience Campaign

CAN is proud to support the #VoteScience campaign, and invites all scientists to participate!

Vote science logo


Advocating for Science in the Canadian Federal Election
Science doesn’t usually get a lot of attention during elections, and we think that needs to change. We need your help to send a message that Canadians care about science.

Learn how to get involved on the website

Advocacy Training: Be an effective advocate for science: Be involved & Tell your story

SfN and CAN join forces to bring you advocacy training that explains:

  • Why advocacy matters
  • How you can make an impact
  • How informing lawmakers can advance neuroscience priorities
  • How the Canadian budget process works
  • How SfN and CAN can be your resource
  • How to plan a #neuroadvocate activity


Michael Heintz, Director of Advocacy & Training at Society for Neuroscience

Melanie Woodin, Chair of the CAN advocacy committee

Julie Poupart, CAN Advocacy Officer

(you are free to use / reuse this content – please acknowledge the Society for Neuroscience and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience if you do).

Other CAN-ACN Resources

Meeting your MP

Getting ready for budget 2019

Why advocate?

2018 Advocacy archives

CAN participation in the advocacy reception at SfN18

Jaideep Bains at the SfN advocacy reception
Jaideep Bains at the SfN advocacy reception

CAN President Jaideep Bains was invited to present CAN Advocacy efforts at the advocacy reception at SfN18 in San Diego, California.

CAN advocacy officer Julie Poupart presented a poster on Neuroscience advocacy strategies in Canada. View the poster here:

Opportunities to participate in #yourbudget2019 consultations of the the FINA committee of the House of Commons.

The permanent committee on Finances of the House of Commons of Canada have announced dates of the in-person consultations in advance of Budget 2019.

These are great opportunities to highlight the importance of increased funding for health research in Canada, and supporting the next generation of scientists.

The first is in Ottawa, Sept 26th at 6:45. Details here.

Other dates include

  • 1 October: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • 2 October: Saint John, New Brunswick
  • 3 October: Québec City, Quebec
  • 4 October: Oshawa, Ontario
  • 5 October: Toronto, Ontario
  • 15 October: Whitehorse, Yukon
  • 16 October: Victoria, British Columbia
  • 17 October: Edmonton, Alberta
  • 18 October: Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Exact locations and hours are posted on the FINA committee website a few days in advance.

2018-08-03: Read CAN-ACN’s submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for the consultations in advance of budget 2019, calling for increased investment in the three main granting councils of Canada and in the next generation of Canadian scientists.

SfN feature on CAN advocacy

Read an article in SfN’s Neuroscience Quarterly on CAN’s advocacy efforts:

Science Policy Session at CAN2018 in Vancouver

Response to budget 2018

Read our response to budget 2018 here:

Read our letter to Ministers Duncan, Morneau and Trudeau here:

Read our thank you letter to our members:

Thank you to CAN members and colleagues


2017 Advocacy archives

Release of the Report of the Standing Committee on Finances (FINA)

Use this link to view the report of the FINA committee, released after the budget consultations of the Fall 2017.

Recommendation 50

Use the Fundamental Science Review (the Naylor Report) as a framework for long-term support of science and research. In particular, the government should invest in investigator-led research, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, applied sciences research institutions, as well as in agricultural research. The government should also expand access to the Canadian Graduate Scholarship program.


Call to action: Budget 2018

Read our latest Call to action to encourage increases tri-council investments in Budget 2018:


Budget 2018

The Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, has launched a new consultation for the 2018 budget, which is currently being drafted.  We encourage you strongly to participate in this initiative, to convince the government that science funding can’t wait.

Consultation website:

Read our latest advocacy reports




Visit the website to find resources and calls to action to support the implementation of the Naylor Report.

CAN participates in Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance pre-budget consultations

CAN representatives and members participated in the pre-budget consultations of Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) in Montreal and Toronto on October 18th and 20th 2017.
CAN advocacy officer Jason Tetro, CAN member Melanie Woodin, and CAN Chief Operating Officer Julie Poupart all made statements to the committee, which can be viewed here: CAN participates in Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance pre-budget consultations

Canada’s Fundamental Science Review

Have you read the Naylor report yet? It is available on the website.  We will work, with partners, to ensure it is implemented in policy.


A step-by-step guide for researchers connecting with Members of Parliament, by the Association of Canadian Early Career Health Researchers

Read it here:

Plan a visit to your MP to talk to them about the importance of implementing the Naylor report.

Canada-wide Brain Research Strategy Development

Canada needs a national brain research strategy, which could be implemented with additional government funding, in order to drive transformative outcomes in neurological and mental health for Canadians.

A presentation of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS) was made at CAN2017 by Lynn Raymond and Yves DeKoninck, partnered with presentations from the Neurological Health Charities Canada (NHCC), the Canadian College of Neuropyschopharmacology (CCNP), and Brain Canada.

View the CBRS fact sheet here (PDF)

We are seeking feedback from the community on this proposal.

The CBRS website has been launched:

View the survey here:

March for Science, April 22 2017

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is proud to endorse the March for Science, which is a call to support and safeguard the scientific community, and to reaffirm that science is a non-partisan, fact based endeavour that benefits the whole of humanity. (read our full statement here: March for Science, April 22 2017 )

CAN Presenting Canadian Neuroscience to MPs in Ottawa in February 2017!neuroscience-luncheon

CAN participated in a Neuroscience luncheon, organised with Research Canada for the Health research caucus on Parliament Hill on February 13th 2017. During this event, Beverley Orser and Charles Bourque delivered lectures to showcase great examples of how investment in basic research can and does lead to improved treatment strategies.

View a short report about the event here (with link to pictures)

View the event flyer: Neuroscience Research in Canada luncheon. Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event – reach out to us if your institution would like to participate.

If you would like to inform your Member of Parliament about our event, you can

Use this tool to find your MP.

Read our statement from January 31st 2017:
Science as a uniting global force: A statement by the Canadian Association for Neuroscience

Letter from January 4th 2017

Dear CAN Members,

The federal budget for 2017 is being finalized right now.  We encourage you to send an email to Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau to urge them to increase the CIHR budget. As you know, Project Grants are expected to have a 7-8% success rate unless the CIHR budget is significantly increased by the current government. It is very important to let the government know about the dire situation our labs are facing. These emails do matter! Please, send your letter and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

You can use this model letter  that you can modify and send.

Please, send your email to these addresses:

Prime Minister’s) email:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Finance minister’s email

The Honourable William Francis Morneau

Please also consider signing the petition launched by the Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences:

The double-double: Investment in scientific excellence and job creation

After the important investments into infrastructure and equipment we now encourage the federal government to take the third and most important next step: enable our researchers to use their equipment and facilities by providing them with the necessary operating funds. On behalf of Canadian scientists, we request a doubling of the budgets for open operating grants of CIHR and NSERC by the end of the first mandate of the Liberal government.

View the petition on the CSMB website, and add your name:


Happy New Year!


Katalin Toth, Chair of the CAN Advocacy Committee and

Freda Miller, President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience.

Advocacy archives 2016-2015

Recent advocacy articles of interest

unexpected-benefitsWe invite you to read these recent articles of interest:
Shifting Demographics among Research Project Grant Awardees at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
The present study was initiated because of concerns expressed by NHLBI-funded mid-career investigators regarding perceived difficulties in the renewal of their grant awards. This led us to ask: “Are mid-career investigators experiencing disproportionate difficulties in the advancement of their professional careers?”

NIH discusses curbing lab size to fund more midcareer scientists

Unexpected benefits of open-ended science – a report by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science

Read our 2016 Advocacy Report

Learn about CAN-ACN’s advocacy activities in 2016, and some of our plans for 2017 in our 2016 Advocacy report

CAN supports the development of a Canadian Action Plan for Brain Health

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience strongly supports the development of a Canadian Action Plan for Brain Health, an initiative proposed by the Neurological Health Charities of Canada. Read our support letter here.

Read CAN-ACN’s contribution to the review of federal support of fundamental science

We have submitted our contribution to the review of federal support of fundamental science, launched by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Canadian Minister of Science.

This contribution also included the results of the survey we conducted in July and August about funding reforms at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Read our submission to CAN-ACN_Science_Review_Contribution.pdf

View the results of the CAN 2016 survey about CIHR reforms:

Recommendations to the Honorable Bill Morneau for pre-budget consultations

Read CAN’s recommendations to the Honorable Bill Morneau for the pre-budget consultations.

1) The mid-term objective should be a doubling of the operating budgets of the NSERC and the CIHR.
If Canada invests in science 2% of the GDP, we will only return to the level of support science had 10 years ago. We believe that Canada’s demonstrated excellence in research can only be sustained with support that reaches 3% of the GDP, which would make Canada’s research investment comparable to Germany’s and the USA’s research investments. Doubling funds that are available in open competitions through the CIHR and the NSERC would be essential to stop the downward trend experienced by fundamental discovery research laboratories across Canada.
2) An increase of $150 million to the 2017 Budget for CIHR.
In the latest competition, the 13% success rate was made possible by moving the 2016- Autumn competition to the 2017 budget of the CIHR. This means that next year the expected success rate will be 5-6% unless the government decisively steps in and restores science funding in Canada. These investments would ensure that the standard of research excellence is maintained in Canada. Canadian scientists are willing and ready to continue to make important contributions that benefits all Canadians. It is important to ensure that we have the means to do so.

New CAN CIHR survey

Thank you to all who completed the new CIHR survey today.  Results of the survey are being shared with the Science Review panel, launched by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science.

CAN advocacy news

Read our July 2016 Calls to action:

New Advocacy corner

Please view the advocacy corner section, on the right hand side of this page to view current Calls to action and recent articles of interest.

Letter by Jim Woodgett about CIHR Peer-review reforms

We invite you to read a letter by Jim Woodgett, Director, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, to the right Honorable Jane Phillpott, Minister of Health, about the CIHR reforms.  You can read and sign the letter here:

Woodgett letter to Jane Philpott – google doc

Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan launches review of federal support of fundamental science

Read the letter of support the Chair of the CAN Advocacy Committee Katalin Toth and CAN President Freda Miller sent to the minister:

CAN letter of support for Science Review

Minister Duncan Honoured at Research Canada’s AGM

Research Canada held its 11th Annual General Meeting last week where the Honourable Dr. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, was honoured for her six years of service to the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus, a non-partisan forum which educates Parliamentarians about the social and economic benefits of Canadian health research and health innovation.

Read the full press release on the Health | Research | Innovation portal

Advocacy and public outreach session at CAN16

The CAN advocacy committee invites you to a special advocacy and public outreach session at the upcoming 2016 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, May 30th from 5:30 to 7PM.  Two neuroscientists with extensive experience in public speaking and outreach, Paul Zehr and Wendy Suzuki, will make presentations, and awards will be given to the best neuroscience outreach initiatives in Canada.  More details here: Advocacy & Public Outreach

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience sponsors the Welcome reception of the new Health Research Caucus in Ottawa

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience was happy to sponsor the welcome reception of the new Health Research Caucus, which took place March 7th, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.  It was an occasion for members of the CAN advocacy committee to meet members of parliament and talk with them about the importance of government support of scientific research. The reception was hosted by the honorouble Jane Philpott, Minister of Health. Dr. Philpott was one of the speakers at the event.

Read more about this event and view pictures

Budget 2016: The Canadian Association for Neuroscience thanks the honourable Bill Morneau for his support of scientific research

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN), is grateful to the  Federal Government for increasing the budgets of
the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Science and Engineering Council by $30 million and supporting the Brain Canada Foundation with $20 million for the next 3 years.

Read our full thank you letter : Post-budget2016-final

The honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, responds to CAN’s recommendation letter

Read the response Minister of Finance Bill Morneau sent CAN in response to our pre-budget consultation letter:

Budget2016_consultation_response_to CAN-ACN_431369

CAN contribution to the Canadian government pre-budget consultation

The CAN Advocacy committee has submitted recommendations to the honorable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, for the pre-budget consultation by the Canadian government. Read the letter signed by CAN President Doug Munoz and the Chair of the Advocacy Committee, Katalin Toth: CAN-Pre-budget20160121

CAN is looking for the best neuroscience outreach and advocacy initiatives in Canada

Two $1000 prizes will be awarded, and the winning initiatives will be presented at the CAN2016 meeting in Toronto – view all the details here:

Parliament Hill event hosted by the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health on March

CAN-ACN is now a member of Research Canada and will have a booth at a Parliament Hill event hosted by the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health on March 7th. More details to be posted here soon.

Press review – October- December 2015

Read recent articles, interviews and opinion pieces by Canadian neuroscientists in our October – December 2015 Press review.  We share these articles on our social media streams, so please inform us of papers we should be sharing with our membership.

Invitation to write to your local MPs and ministers – Nov 27th letter from Katalin Toth

Dear CAN Members,
1) Last summer, in response to our survey you expressed your concerns about changes implemented at CIHR. CAN has forwarded these results and your comments to CIHR in hope of influencing positive changes.
2) The Board of CAN has launched a major new initiative in advocacy. A new Advocacy committee, chaired by Katalin Toth (Laval),  has been struck with representatives from across Canada . This committee has been charged with developing concrete plans for advocacy to government, calling for an increase basic research funding. CAN has started to develop strategic partnerships with CSMB (please see below a letter from the President of CSMB) and Research Canada.
3) CAN is now working to build bidirectional communication with the new federal government and hope to see changes in science funding policy in the near future. We encourage you to contact your local MPs and ministers handling science portfolios to let them know about the important work you do and the challenges you are facing.
Contact  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Health Jane Philpott, Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Singh Bains and your newly elected MP.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Kristin Baetz <>
Date: November 25, 2015 at 6:39:58 PM GMT+1
To: Kristin Baetz <>
Subject: Time to demand change at CIHR


Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We have all been impacted by the CIHR reforms and many of you have told me that you felt helpless in effecting change.  Today Michael Rudnicki took a stand on the issue.  When talking to Elizabeth Payne at the Ottawa Citizen last week about his recent discovery on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Michael let her know about the crisis that is occurring at CIHR and how it is impacting researchers across the country.  This led to an outstanding article on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen today:
Michael, along with many other scientist and societies across Canada have begun the discussion.  Indeed, this article instigated a series of meeting today in Ottawa.  But more scientists need to be engaged in the discussion. It is critical that new Liberal government hear about how the CIHR reforms have impacted your research program.  Email/letter volume on a topic remains  an important advocacy tool.
I encourage you to contact  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of HealthJane Philpott, Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Singh Bains and your newly elected MP.  Demand changes at CIHR!
The Liberal Government has strongly indicated that Science will once again become a priority. Not only does Canada now have two Minsters with science portfolios and the mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau to Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan outlined one of her top priorities to “Examine options to strengthen the recognition of and support for fundamental research to support new discoveries.” 
The time is right to tell the Liberal Government your concerns about fundamental research funding in Canada and demand changes at CIHR.
If you are not already a member,  today I ask you to please join the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences.  We are working hard on your behalf to advocate for increased funding for discovery research –  including our petition, advertisements targeted to MPs/policy makers, letters to committees and speaking to MPs on your behalf.  Our next focus will be on advocating for change at CIHR.  Our membership fees are essential for paying for advertisements, website designs, PR consultants and hosting networking events on Parliament Hill.  Without increased membership we will be limited in our ability to advocate for the changes we need to keep Canada’s innovation pipeline strong. 
Kristin Baetz PhD
Interim Director of the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology
Canada Research Chair in Chemical and Functional Genomics and Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
613 562-5800 X 8592

CSMB petition:

We invite you to sign the petition by the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences at

October 19th 2015 Canadian federal elections

CIHR reforms questionnaire

View our member’s responses to the questionnaire about the recent CIHR reforms

CIHR reforms questionnaire results